To ensure there is no serious military tension on the Korean Peninsula, Seoul's unification minister Lee In-young voiced hope of finding solutions wisely and flexibly when it comes to the North's recent request that Seoul and Washington suspend their combined military drills.
Lee was speaking in a new year's press conference on Monday when he was asked about the unification ministry's role in the situation.
"Also, it's not solely the South Korean government's problem. I hope that Pyeongyang's views on this are also flexible and open."
He noted further that several factors need to be considered, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the policies still taking shape under the new U.S. administration.
Minister Lee pointed out that the Biden administration is taking a very serious and calm approach to the North at what he sees as a crucial moment when close cooperation between Seoul and Washington is more important than ever.
"Where we can, South Korea's unification ministry will play an active role rather than taking a wait-and-see approach."
The minister further voiced hope of restoring communication lines between the two Koreas.
That could include online reunions for families separated by the Korean War and in-person reunions as soon as the pandemic subsides.
Lee also pledged to engage in humanitarian cooperation as planned in the areas of quarantine, health care, climate change and the environment.
Regarding his postponed trip to Washington, he said he will make new plans based on the vaccination process in the U.S.
But he added that priority needs to go to the communication process between Seoul and Washington.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.